Library Blog

June 16th 2015
There are so many different types of e-readers; it’s hard to know which one is right for you. First off, you have the Amazon Kindle, the nook, Kobo, Sony reader and of course the multi-functional IPad. So, how do you choose? Questions to ask yourself before your purchase: How do I want the screen to look? Color or just black and white Battery Life- Do I need a long lasting battery? Weight/size – Will I be lugging this thing around town with me? How many books will I be downloading? Will I... Read Post
June 10th 2015
When you're in a cafe, hotel, library (or any other place besides home or work) access to a public wireless network is really convenient, but you need to take some basic precautions. This video from CNET shows you how to make sure you're using a secure connection and how to protect your laptop/tablet/smartphone:
June 6th 2015
Our next book for Somerville Reads, our annual community one town/one book series of events, is the critically acclaimed best-seller The Martian, the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars and his struggle for survival. The Wall Street Journal called it "The best pure sci-fi novel in years." Kirkus Reviews praised it for being "sharp, funny and thrilling."  A film adaptation directed by Ridley Scott (the genius behind one of the best sci-fi films of all time) will be in theaters in November.... Read Post
June 3rd 2015

Today is the last day of work at SPL for Eileen F., who starts a full-time reference job at the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy next Monday. During her time at SPL Eileen shelved, worked circulation, helped write press releases, contributed to the blog, and volunteered with StoryCorps. At left is a photo of Eileen with one of her parting gifts of gourmet chocolate. Good luck, Eileen! You will be missed.

June 2nd 2015
Join us at the Central Library next Monday June 8 at 7 pm as Jessa Lingel of Microsoft Research talks about libraries, information centers and access to books in the West Bank.  In April 2015, Jessa was a member of a delegation from Librarians and Archivists with Palestine (LAP) who traveled to the West Bank to meet with representatives of cultural centers, librarians and community education centers. They participated in workshops on topics such as access to information, library science... Read Post
May 27th 2015
...(or, more truthfully) the lack of it. Do Not Track is a short documentary series that demonstrates how Internet users give away information about themselves. Do a little experiment. Watch the first episode. It's only five minutes. Then ask a friend to watch it from a different computer. Then compare what each of you saw.  
May 18th 2015
Join us at the Central Library at 7 pm this Wednesday for our annual talk on researching the history of your house and your family. I will cover the basic principles and resources of genealogical research and Kristi Chase of City Historic Preservation will show you how to discover the history of your house: who owned it before you, when it was built and how it's changed.  
May 9th 2015
Come to the Central Library next weekend and stock up on books! Ones you can keep forever! There will be thousands of books covering dozens of subjects in at least four languages. Our book sales happen thanks to the hard work of the Friends of the Somerville Public Library. Proceeds from SPL's book sales pay for our museum passes and programs.       Book sale schedule: Thursday, May 14      5:00-8:00 pm preview (For Friends who joined at the $50 level or higher) Friday, May 15... Read Post
May 5th 2015
In recognition of Choose Privacy Week (although it's almost over), here are some recommendation and tips for making your online life a little more private. For search engines, ditch Google and start using DuckDuckGo. The latter doesn't track you, doesn't store any of your personal information, and you don't see annoying sponsored content sites popping up in your search results. Ghostery is a browser extension that identifies web bugs, objects embedded in web pages that track your online... Read Post
May 1st 2015
Join us at the Central Library on Thursday, May 7th at 7:00 p.m. for “I Am Neither of the West Nor the East: What Islamic Spirituality Can Offer the Secular West,” an exploration of aspects of Islamic tradition, philosophy and culture that have inspired members of the secular and Christian worlds. Poet, filmmaker, and Harvard doctoral student in Religion Kythe Heller will give a talk on the critically acclaimed memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, the story of G. Willow Wilson, a secular American... Read Post
April 22nd 2015
When Wikipedia first appeared in 2005, the excitement of Internet culture pundits was almost palpable.  An online encyclopedia that shared the knowledge of countless people from all over the world embodied the democratizing spirit of the web. "Behold the power of the people," gushed Wired.  And the idea behind  Wikipedia is inspiring: it's no respecter of persons or credentials. Wikipedia contributors just have to be willing to  do some work. But as many of us foresaw from the beginning, the... Read Post
April 15th 2015

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of the murder of Abraham Lincoln. He was shot in the head in Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865, where he was watching the play Our American Cousin. A century and a half and three presidential assassinations later, it's impossible for us to comprehend what a national trauma it was. It was the first time an American president had been murdered.

Ford's Theater has put together an online exhibit on national reactions to the assassination. It's a... Read Post

April 13th 2015
As security goes, passwords aren't that great. Most of us can't think of an alphanumeric code that would stymie password cracking software. However, you're still going to need passwords for the foreseeable future.  Your ability to use the Internet is extremely limited without them. Edward Snowden himself has been taking some online flack for telling John Oliver that "MargaretThatcheris110%SEXY" is a secure password. Sure, it's a long(ish) phrase as passwords go, and the opinion expressed is... Read Post
April 9th 2015
...for April 9, 2015 150 years ago today Robert E Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, bringing an end to four years of war that caused 600,000 deaths.  The generosity and forbearance of the victors in the American Civil War has no historical precedent: there were no executions; Confederate soldiers were allowed to keep their property; Confederate prisoners were released as soon as they swore an oath to never again fight against the U. S. government. When Union soldiers began to... Read Post
April 1st 2015
The cruelest month (as T.S. Eliot called it) has officially begun, and many people will doubtless play silly pranks on others today. But why? Nobody really knows  the origins of April Fool's Day. But we do know that holidays associated with jokes have been around a long time. In Ancient Rome the December festival of Saturnalia was distinguished by a Carnaval-like atmosphere in which tricks and hoaxes were par for the course. As for modern April Fool's Day, one of the earliest mentions in... Read Post